Sydney is a contributing health writer and editor who enjoys shedding light on health topics, making information available to anyone who wants it, and ending stigmas or lack of access to care and treatment.
Po-Chang Hsu, M.D.
Dr. Hsu received his medical degree from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, and holds a Master’s of Science degree from both Harvard University and Tufts University. Outside of the medical profession, Dr. Hsu loves to write, learn new languages, and travel.
February 18, 2021
The costs for therapy can vary quite a bit – while one individual will only have the copay their insurance requires, other people might be paying out-of-pocket upwards of $100 per session.
The spectrum for therapy cost is vast––Americans found themselves paying $20 to $250 for a session in 2020.
Some things that will affect how much your therapy costs are:
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “The symptoms of mental disorders can have a profound effect on someone’s quality of life and ability to function.” Although most of us know this to be true, the price tag on therapy and mental health treatment stops a lot of people from seeking out the proper care––but this doesn’t have to be true!
If you’re asking yourself how much therapy costs and not going because you’re afraid of the answer, we are here to help you understand that cost doesn’t have to be a barrier to getting the help you need.
Know that there are affordable options out there for mental health treatment, including therapy. EverydayDr is a proud partner of PlushCare, a prominent telehealth company that gives anyone and everyone access to top doctors and therapists for affordable prices, and you can make therapy appointments and talk to a licensed therapist through your laptop or phone without ever having to leave your home.
There are a handful of factors that can influence how much you’ll be paying for therapy. Here are some of the most common things to consider when looking for a therapist within your budget.
When you’re asking, “how much does therapy cost?” the first thing you’ll want to do is check your insurance carrier. If you’re living in the United States, the Mental Health Parity Law requires some health insurance plans to cover mental health. One insurance company might cover everything, while another might require that you pay for the majority out of your pocket.
It doesn’t matter if you have insurance through your employer, the state, or the Affordable Care Act, therapy or mental health care will likely be covered in some way, shape, or form. Many therapists work specifically within insurance carrier’s networks. This can lower the cost and copay for the client.
Most insurance carriers have a section on their website dedicated to what they cover. It can vary from one plan to another. If you’re curious about what your specific plan covers, call your insurance agent today, or check your plan details online.
Something you need to consider when budgeting for therapy is how often you’ll be going. There’s no denying that a patient going twice a week would spend more than someone with monthly appointments.
On average, people can expect to pay anywhere from $60 per session to $120+. Again, Americans found themselves paying $20 to $250 for a session in 2020. This surely shows how much therapy costs can vary–so don’t limit yourself based on what you think is “normal.”
Factors such as where you live and what type of health insurance you have can make a big difference as well. For those living in big cities like New York or San Francisco, you can expect to pay more per hour.
Most therapists set their hourly rates, and some even choose to work within a client’s budget. This is called “sliding scale therapy.” If the therapist usually charges $100 for an hour, they may charge you less based on an income bracket. Talk to your therapist about whether or not they offer sliding scale payments.
There are several different types of therapy out there, and they don’t all cost the same. Options like group therapy, art therapy, and anger management tend to be on the more cost-effective side of the scale.
Grief counseling, couple’s therapy, marriage counseling, and individual therapy fall in the middle. Depression therapy, sex therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy tend to be on the more expensive end of the spectrum.
In addition to the type of therapy you’re seeking, something else to consider is whether the practice is private or not. Private practices tend to charge more and vary greatly depending on how much you make and where you live. Individual therapy is usually more affordable, especially for those with lower incomes.
There are also different types of mental health professionals. Counselors are usually the least expensive, while psychologists fall in the middle, and psychiatrists and psychotherapists tend to cost the most. Below is a simplified breakdown of each professional, what they do, and what you can expect to pay.
|Mental Health Professional||Background/Training/Cost|
|Psychiatrist||Due to having a more intensive medical background, psychiatrists are more expensive than traditional counseling. There is typically a fee for a consultation and then an hourly charge for each session thereafter. The average cost of a 1-hour psychiatrist appointment without insurance is upwards of $300. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor that specializes in working with clients that need medication for their mental illness.|
|Counselor/therapist||If you’re on a budget and aren’t facing any immediately dangerous mental health issues, a counselor will be your best option. They’re by far the cheapest option and can help those struggling with things like anxiety, depression, daily stress, or life transitions. The rates are low enough to be available for those with budget restrictions.|
|Psychologist||When it comes to pricing, psychologists usually fall in the middle of the spectrum. You’ll find psychologists with a Ph.D., but they aren’t medical doctors like psychiatrists. You can expect to pay $60 to $250 per session when seeing a psychologist. They can’t prescribe medication, but they use several types of psychotherapy to help patients struggling with trauma, intrusive thoughts, and more.|
|Psychotherapy||Because they have extensive experience and qualifications, psychotherapists fall on the more expensive side. Many people spend anywhere between $60 to $300 per session. The rates are highest in big cities. If you have a private health insurance plan, these fees are often completely covered. People seek out psychotherapy to focus on a specific issue by using different types of psychotherapy models.|
Therapy online can sometimes cost less due to lower overhead costs like offices, secretaries, and supplies for the therapist. Depending on your insurance coverage, you likely have a better chance at spending less than $100 on an online therapy session than an in-person one.
The most important thing is to get the help you need, whatever it takes. Online mental health services and doctors are becoming more popular, allowing more people than ever to talk with a professional.
Our sister site, PlushCare, is a top telehealth company that connects customers to top doctors and therapists. You can book an online therapy session here. A 45-minute video chat session at PlushCare costs just $65. Right now, PlushCare is offering your first month half off, meaning you can see a top therapist for as little as $33 session. To make things even better, PlushCare is also offering a free consultation with your prospective therapist before you sign up. Set up your free consultation by emailing [email protected] or calling 1-800-690-1562.
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